An interesting article from NASA states that Jupiter's southern equitorial belt (SEB) - which interacts with the Great Red Spot - has disappeared!
This is not the first time the browny gas belt has disappeared. Glenn John Rogers, director of the British Astronomical Association's Jupiter Section, says that:
"The SEB fades at irregular intervals, most recently in 1973-75, 1989-90, 1993, 2007, 2010. The 2007 fading was terminated rather early, but in the other years the SEB was almost absent, as at present."
The return of the SEB can be rather dramatic, and it's pot-luck as to who sees it first, given that it can be seen easily from earth.
See the full report from the NASA website here.
So this is where the inspiration for the Queen in the film Aliens comes from then! The Queen Termite is a giant egg laying machine, laying about 30,000 eggs a day. Her partner, the King Termite, stays with her throughout her life, and mates with her continuously.
Her abdomen is so swolen, that she is unable to move or look after herself, so she has a whole chamber of servants that feed and clean her. They also look after the eggs she produces.
Unlike the Queen Alien, she is unable to detach herself from her egg sack, so in the event of an ant raid, she is completely helpless and unable to defend herself. This can result in her being carried off by hundreds of ants to become a living feast.
Most of the time, though, she manages to live between 15-20 years. She normally grows to about 4 inches long.
For more Termite information, have a look at the termite Wikipedia page.
Here at Show Me Something Interesting we do like to see unusual things. However, stuffing hair into tights to make hair-boons to combat the Gulf oil spill at first seems a little too wacky.
Four very special hair donors were a group of Alpacas from the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Apparently Alpaca hair is fine and cotton-like, which some scientists think could prove to be very absorbent. However, this would only be in the first stages of leekage. As the oil becomes thicker, and forms tar balls, the hair would be unable to absorb it.
This, and other pet and human hair, has been made into boons to use in the Gulf. As the lady stuffing the pantyhose said towards the end of the video: "It's a renewable resourse, and it's...something we can do on our own." Good on you!
The video below is from the National Geographic channel on YouTube.